Term 3 - Week 24 - Mystery Box - Character Rigging
I think the below design is something close to my final character model, if not definitely it, save for the present lack of material attributes. I chose to give my character what my colleagues have aptly named noodle arms, instead of arms with a distinct joint half way, the case is similar for the legs. I changed the design a bit from my original super sculpey model, and added some ball joints for the connection between the arms and the body, which gave the arms a little more breathing space around my character's large body. The effect of these joints rotating with the movement of the arm is also, to be frank, pretty cool. I decided it would create more consistency with my character if I also gave the legs a ball joint where they connect with the body.
I created my own rig, instead of using the one given to us, although this wasn't entirely necessary, as the only real thing I changed was the arms, but at least I am familiar with the whole process now. Since my character's upper body is a solid mass, I did not create a spine or head joint, and instead connect the arms to the waist joint. I wanted the arms to bend as a whole, instead of bending at their centre of mass, so I created a series of numerous joints along the length of the arm, and created an Inverse Kinematic handle across these, as this was really the only feasible way I could control the arm as a result. I could make more IK handles across the joints at more specific regions to control smaller areas, but at this point in time I do not see a reason to, and this would over complicate things, at least until I understand Maya better. I binded the polygons as skin to the joints in order to make the arms follow the joints, which resulted in clean movement from the arms, with no particular disfigurement. I did a similar thing with the legs, except these are less noodley, and instead have a joint at their centre from which to bend.
The hands for my character gave me TOO MUCH TROUBLE. The design for the hands hasn't changed over the course of their creation, but I have made too many rigs for the hands for me to recall. Really it has taught me a lot, but the process did become more than a little annoying at times, but I am quite satisfied with the result. I first tried to bind the fingers as skin to joints, but these resulted in polygons from other fingers following and stretching when I moved a finger. I'm fairly certain there is a way to fix this by perhaps reducing the area in which polygons are picked up, but I was unsure and after trying numerous times, I decided it best separate the different segments of the fingers into individual parts, and parent each of these to a joint. I then encountered this problem that had the fingers fly off in the wrong direction when I moved the arm. I'm fairly certain this was more or less a result of my sloppy organisation when constructing my character, and could probably have been fairly easily fixed, but alas I had absolutely no idea what I was doing in that respect. I deleted the history for EVERYTHING, which seemed to fix it for the most part, but required I parent some parts again, which was no big deal in exchange for fixing this accursed problem. I created IK handles for each finger so they would contract like human fingers, but I didn't do much more as I don't think I'll be using the hands of my character all too much. If the need arises I might try and make some controls so the hands will contract and relax without too much hassle.